Author Archive

Give Us This Day…

September 13, 2021

At the start of the pandemic, much caught us by surprise. The stores ran out of any and every kind of sanitizer; there was no PPE to be found. Did we even know what PPE was? We were told not to "speak moistly", to wear a mask, and to …( read more )

The Red Chair

August 7, 2021

There it was — along the Mersey River deep in the forest in Kejimkujik National Park (Keji to most of us here in Nova Scotia, Canada) — the Red Chair, or to be precise, Red Chairs, …( read more )

I Will Counsel You

July 19, 2021

Lucy has her own profession in the Peanuts comic strip: psychiatrist. Lucy has put out her shingle — "Psychiatric Help 5¢". Charlie Brown shows up at her makeshift booth and …( read more )

Dayspring From On High

July 4, 2021

Do you know the story of the Dayspring Mission? It is a fascinating story of courage, determination, and sacrifice. In the 1860s, the Presbyterian Board of Missions decided that the New Hebrides Mission (Vanuatu today) should have a large …( read more )

Six O'clock, Time To Get Up!

June 23, 2021

One of the great fascinations of visiting my grandparents was the wonder of listening each morning to their budgie sing! Then — a miracle to us kids — the budgie would very clearly say, "Six o'clock, time to get up!" Even we kids found …( read more )

Keep Calm And Carry On

May 15, 2021

I was visiting a member of my congregation when she said, "Let's have coffee." A few minutes later, we were savouring coffee with cheese and crackers. I looked at the cup and asked her where the mug had come from and what it meant. The …( read more )

The Woman Who Sold Time

April 27, 2021

I was fascinated when I heard the story of Ruth Belville. She inherited a family business that had been started by her father in 1836 — selling time! In those days in London, anyone who wanted to know the exact time had few options that …( read more )

It's In You To Give

April 11, 2021

You may have seen the phrase in today's title a time or two, but it holds special meaning for me, and the pandemic is messing it up! For years, my weekly routine included a trip to the Canadian Blood Services. I gave about two hours each …( read more )

Where A Yes Can Take You

March 20, 2021

A news service interviewed me after I returned from Africa, asking about life in ministry, to which I answered, "I've never been bored. I've found that when I say 'Yes' to things, doors open. The more I say 'Yes', the more doors open. …( read more )

When You Have To Start Over

March 6, 2021

It was a long month and more for me — and probably longer for those around me! A sudden fall on my 39th wedding anniversary changed my life. (Sorry Jeanne — it wasn't the day that we had planned!) I think that I adapted rather well to …( read more )

Well Done!

February 21, 2021

It's 6 a.m. on a dark and moody morning, and the fog is deep in the Bay. I'm getting ready for the run that begins each new day — summer or winter, rain or shine. I have a routine to get ready — stretches, bends, push-ups, and all the …( read more )

I'll Pull You Out Of That Stinking Pollution

February 5, 2021

In his encyclical on the environment, Laudato si (Praise be to you), Pope Francis wrote: Human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbour and with the earth itself. …( read more )

The Pulse Of This Morning

January 20, 2021

A few days ago, I read from Maya Angelou's poem, On the Pulse of the Morning. It was read at the inauguration of the President of the United States of America on January 20th, 1993, when life was a little more civil (or civilized) than …( read more )

The Morning After

December 26, 2020

What do we do the morning after? The morning after the celebration of Christmas, that is. We spend so much time in the anticipatory mode that we don't really know what to do with the morning after. When we wake on the other side of …( read more )

Part Of The Crew

September 26, 2020

I love sailing, and I love racing. We have dedicated positions as part of the crew. I am on the mainsail. Others can be found in the cockpit around me, others are at the mast, while still others are responsible for the bow, and of course, …( read more )

Through The Storm

August 21, 2020

It was just one of those days on the boat. The calm became a stiffening breeze, the breeze became a blow, and the blow just got stronger and stronger. We were in a race on the Bras d'Or Lakes of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, and we …( read more )

Be Strong

August 1, 2020

It is impossible to travel anywhere in Nova Scotia, Canada, without confronting a sign reading "Nova Scotia Strong". Nova Scotia has had to learn to be strong in the first months of 2020. With the rest of the country, we had to respond to …( read more )

Balm In Gilead

October 17, 2019

It was one of those lazy, hazy August Sundays when more folks decide on the beach than sit on the bench at church. The smattering of folk warmly welcomed the summer guest preacher, who offered a sermon and gave us food for thought. There …( read more )

A Sabbath Moment

March 19, 2019

In a busy world, Sabbath is something that we need to seek intentionally. People need to pursue Sabbath moments in life. People in the church and in society alike need concrete examples of how to create Sabbath — in their car, through …( read more )

Fisherman's Cove

March 2, 2019

Picture a 12-kilometre (7-mile) hike with a 300-metre (1000-foot) drop from start to ocean. It's labelled difficult, and that means for seasoned hikers. Try it with all the camping gear necessary for mom and dad and three kids all under …( read more )

A Church Without Walls

February 15, 2019

In 2001, the Church of Scotland looked around and decided that something was terribly wrong with the church in Scotland. It wasn't just numerical decline. There was something wrong about how people — both inside and outside — perceived …( read more )

The Sound Of Silence

February 1, 2019

Growing up in the 1960s, I learned to love "The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel. And the sign said: "The words of the prophets Are written on the subway walls And tenement halls And whispered in the sound of silence." It was …( read more )

The Year Of Sabbath Preparation

May 7, 2006

Imagine a negotiation between labour and management. The final touches are being put to the agreement, but there is still a sticking point — and the whole agreement may collapse unless it can be resolved. The issue? Time off. The … (read more)

Something Beautiful For God

July 26, 2003

What a mess of mismatched morsels! In front of her was food of every description brought to Evangel Hall (an inner city mission in Toronto, Ontario, Canada) all to provide a little something to satisfy the hunger of those who … (read more)

Get Cracking!

January 26, 2003

A sledgehammer? I'm holding a sledgehammer and tearing down a wall! This isn't what I thought when I heard the words "inner city mission", but here I am with crowbar, hammer, and helmet. Evergreen Mission to street kids is expanding, … (read more)

The Visit

January 19, 2003

We came to visit. This was little more than a boarding house and our Youth in Mission team was trying to offer a little variety to a summer's afternoon, a little variation to the tedium of the tenement house. The … (read more)

We're Stuck

January 13, 2003

Anyone over 40 knows how maddening it is to put on a favourite vinyl record and have it stick. "Tell me the old, old story… tell me the old, old story… tell me the old, old story… tell me the … (read more)

Living Alone

September 8, 2002

I never thought of myself as a person "living alone". I just happen to be living by myself for the first time in nearly three decades. But others saw my life differently and responded in wonderful and affirming ways. I … (read more)

Reaching For Home

May 17, 2002

It's been a tiring and gruelling day. I've been on my feet and on the road since before the first light of day, and it is now late at night. I just want to catch that last bus and go … (read more)

Being Present

April 29, 2002

Every Tuesday, I spend five hours sitting outside in the shade of the Better Hope Church, before going out into the community to visit church members. We advertise my presence in the church building as widely as possible. Better Hope … (read more)

I Love My Communion

April 26, 2002

Auntie Doris moved back to the East Coast Demerara, Guyana. She has no family, no close friends, and, until recently, has had no place to live. But she is a wonderful, gentle, caring octogenarian, now 82 years of age. Her … (read more)

Moya

April 21, 2002

I know this father. He invited me to his home. We ate and talked and shared our loves and concerns. He asked me to accompany him to his son's bedroom. "My son is very ill. He is suffering from OCD … (read more)

Just Gaffing

April 11, 2002

I was visiting Sister Esther a while ago, and, in the conversation, I asked her how the day had gone for her daughter Annie who had just turned 23. Birthdays are a big thing here in Guyana. Esther smiled, and … (read more)

 



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